Orioles #8 Prospect: Zac Lowther – LHP

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Age: 23
2019 Level: AA

Pitches (current/future value)
Fastball: 50/55
Curveball: 50/55
Change: 45/50
Slider: 45/50
Command: 45/50
Most Likely Future Role: Back of the Rotation Starter
Ceiling: Mid-rotation starter

What we know: There is little doubt Lowther is more the sum of it’s part kind of pitcher versus the sexy raw stuff. The 23-year old lefty continues to dominate his minor league competition with a four-pitch mix despite a fastball that sits in the 89-90 range. He can reach back for 92 at times and will also slow it up to 87, but the pitch plays up at any velocity due to some deception and late life and we saw a lot of swing and miss at 89 MPH. His best pitch is a 77-78 MPH curveball that is major league average and will flash plus at times though his command of the pitch still needs work. His change improved this season and would occasionally be a solid average pitch, but he still struggled to command the pitch consistently. He also throws an occasional 82-85 MPH slider that he uses more as a get me over pitch than a go to strike out offering. Held Eastern League batters to a .197/.288/.293/.581 and only had a 17.6% line drive percentage with Grayson Rodriguez (15.4%) as the only pitcher in the Top Ten harder to barrel up often.

What we don’t know: His walk rate has increase as he’s moved up the ladder and the question is whether batters are laying off more pitches because they are picking him up better. Although his fastball plays up, at 89-90 MPH average, the question is whether that deception will continue at the major league level where he will get away with less mistakes.

What we think: Lowther has enough pitches to defend himself if something is not working that he’s got a good chance to stay as a starter at the major league level. His fastball (92-94 in relief), curveball combination gives him a middle-reliever floor, but if his command comes around more consistently he’s got a mid-rotation ceiling.

Another Take: Lowther has been a favorite of mine since he was drafted. His combination of deception, extension, feel to pitch, and curveball command has allowed him to out-pitch his raw stuff. While the results were still there in 2019, the stuff backed up a little bit with the fastball more 87-91mph instead of 89-93 last year. At the reduced velocity, some cracks started to emerge. His walk rate increased as he pitched around hitters rather than attack them. Lowther is a smart pitcher and he is going to be as good as his talent allows, but it’s hard for me to see more than a backend starter. (Luke Siler)

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Tony Pente
Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.